November 18, 2019 (WASHINGTON) – The African Union’s Peace and Security Commissioner, Smail Chergui said South Sudan leaders had “last chance” to form a national unity government.

Chergui made the remarks at a meeting with United States officials in Washington Friday last week.

“This maybe is the last chance for them to respond to the will of their people. South Sudanese are tired of war,” he said.

The meeting was held a week after South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar agreed to delay key benchmarks in the peace accord by 100 days.

The delay in forming a national unity government on November 12 came after Machar’s group raised concerns that the country’s security arrangements are still incomplete.

The U.S said it was “frustrated” by South Sudan’s rival leaders for failing to form a unity government as scheduled, casting doubts on their ability to lead the country’s peace process.

Tibor Nagy, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs said a lot of “tools” are available and the US will not hesitate to use them if South Sudan’s warring parties fail to form a transitional national unity government by next year.

“Rest assured, there are available mechanisms, tools available and I’m not going to go any – into specifics, but I can assure you also that the entire international community is hyper-mobilized,” he said last week.

He said the US recognizes the “horrible” suffering that the South Sudanese people have had to endure, and pledged Washington’s support to the population in the young nation.

Last week, the US, through its aid arm (USAID) provided $92.5 million in humanitarian assistance for people affected by the ongoing conflict and food insecurity in South Sudan.

The latest donation, it said in a statement, brings the US humanitarian assistance to the people of South Sudan to nearly $4.68 billion since the country’s crisis began in 2013.

South Sudan descended into civil war in mid-December 2013 when President Kiir accused his former deputy Machar of plotting a coup, allegations the latter dismissed.

In September last year, the country’s rival factions signed a revitalized peace deal to end the civil war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.

(ST)

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